TREATMENTS FOR diabetes are already accounting for seven per cent of the Portuguese National Health Service budget.
Diabetes affects around 700,000 Portuguese a year and can lead to serious health problems such as blindness, kidney problems and, in some cases, even limb amputation.
Smoking, lack of physical exercise, high fat and carbohydrate diets and sugary drinks are the main culprits say doctors.
President of the Portuguese Society for Diabetes, Luís Gardete Correia, warned that diabetes, caused by being overweight and eating too many refined foods was increasing at an explosive rate.
“At the moment, the direct cost to the Portuguese health service of having to treat diabetes represents seven per cent of the total health budget. It is a lot cheaper and healthier to avoid the problem in the first place,” he warned.
Health Minister, Correia de Campos said, that despite the fact that Portugal had a Diabetes Control Programme since 1995, its success had been modest. “Its failure can only be explained by a lack of information, lack of continuation and co-ordination in the programmes and failures in the way central services are carried out.”
The minister said that future national programmes would aim at prevention rather than just cure and was an opportunity to address the present situation.